With the fall Signing Day rapidly approaching (It is now two months and counting), a number of basketball players are stuck in a tough decision. Should they make their decision this fall with a school that they are not in love with or should they wait for that dream school to come along and hopefully offer a scholarship?
That really is a tough question to answer and it depends on a case by case look. The problem with waiting is that if the school you like the most right now gets a commit from a player at your position, the chances of you going there on scholarship may now be zero. Recruits and their families really are in a tough situation on both sides of the coin.
What makes this situation even tougher is that many college coaches deadline recruits. What I mean by deadline is say that you have one week until we offer another kid at your position. Then they continue to offer kids until they get a power forward commitment. In the game of basketball recruiting, this happens all of the time. If you are a Division I recruit with a few low major offers, I can almost promise you that this will happen.
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If you are a Division II recruit with hopes of playing at the Division I level, it is also a tough time for you. There may be Division II offers on the table and serious interest from Division I schools. But as I have said many times, don’t take anything all that serious until a school offers a scholarship in writing. And because those Division I schools are only showing interest, there is no guarantee that anything will happen.
So why should I sign my National Letter of Intent in the fall?
The two main reasons are peace of mind and security. By peace of mind, you will know exactly how much you are getting from that school in terms of scholarship money. That is a great security blanket to have, even at the age of 17 or 18. You can just worry about helping your team have a great season on the basketball court. It doesn’t matter if you average ten or thirty points, you have signed a binding NCAA Letter of Intent where they have promised you a certain amount of money. I know a recruit last year who signed a Division II Letter of Intent in the fall and then was kicked off his team three games into the season. The school ended up still taking him, mainly because he had signed that Letter of Intent. If that was not there, chances are he would be at a Junior College or smaller school because of his off the court problems.
So why should I sign my National Letter of Intent in the spring?
The main reason to wait until the spring is that you are betting on yourself to improve your stock. While you will have to be concerned with the recruiting process and what coaches are in the stands, you are passing up a for sure thing in terms of a scholarship offer. Your destiny is in the control of your play on the basketball court. If you are doing this, I would really stress that you and your family spend a good portion of the winter marketing yourself to college coaches (Click here for the full article). The reason why I stress this is because many college coaches usually have a good feel for the senior prospects that they are looking at. Unless they are Division III (Which doesn’t worry about scholarships), these larger colleges know who they will be evaluating. That is why you need to make sure you get your name to them. As I have said many times, college coaches care very little on how you do during the high school season. It is really the AAU season that matters the most.
In the end, it just depends on what you want to do. If the best school is a Division II program that offers a great education, it may be worth signing in the fall. You have to realize that while some schools have the Division I title, it doesn’t mean their facilities are better than some of the top Division II programs. If you are lucky enough to be in this situation, you have two months to looks into things and try and figure it out.